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  #1  
Old 03-04-2010, 09:06 AM
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Default +p and bullets

I'm new to reloading and have successfully done few hundred rounds of .38 special with Hodgdon hp-38 powder. Using Lee turret classic press. I bought Oregon Trail Laser-Cast Bullets 158 Gr. which are non-jacketed (thats all that was on the shelf). I wanted to do some +p loads and then .357 next. It seems all the reloading charts list jacketed loads with +p and .357. Is it ok to use non-jacketed? Are the grains the same for a given weight jacketed or non?
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Old 03-04-2010, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by mboyda View Post
I'm new to reloading and have successfully done few hundred rounds of .38 special with Hodgdon hp-38 powder. Using Lee turret classic press. I bought Oregon Trail Laser-Cast Bullets 158 Gr. which are non-jacketed (thats all that was on the shelf). I wanted to do some +p loads and then .357 next. It seems all the reloading charts list jacketed loads with +p and .357. Is it ok to use non-jacketed? Are the grains the same for a given weight jacketed or non?
Shooting cast bullets successfully in any gun can be a challenge. They as not as forgiving as jacketed bullets. There are several variables that enter the game when shooting cast bullets.

1. The gun you use them in.
2. The cast bullets.
3. The load used in the cartridge.

All of these are a subject unto themselves for much discussion and there is a lot of information available on them. Laser Cast bullets are used by many and some have success with them and some don't. I have used them and still do in three different calibers I load for. They have some sources for loads listed on their web site under load data. Take some time to research these sources and you will find the data you are looking for.
Home
Here is another good source of information on casting and shooting cast bullets you may want to spend some time on.
Cast bullet reference on lead alloy's, min / max pressure, lube, shrinkage,
There should be a lot of other people here that will add to this information as well.
Cary
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Old 03-04-2010, 10:50 AM
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It seems all the reloading charts list jacketed loads with +p and .357. Is it ok to use non-jacketed? Are the grains the same for a given weight jacketed or non?
NO! Lead and jacketed load recipes are NOT interchangeable.
Lyman has a good manual for lead bullet loads.
Especially if you are inexperienced, it is best only to use loads from reliable manuals.
I shoot HARD CAST bullets in .357, using an old Winchester recipe. If I tried it with soft lead, it would coat the barrel with lead quickly.
HP38 recipes using 4.0 to 4.5 gr under 158gr lead in .38 can be found in several manuals, and I've used them with many different lead alloys.
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Old 03-05-2010, 04:14 PM
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Generally, yes for the same bullet weight. The only problem with a hard bullet like the Laser Cast may be leading, and that will be more a matter of sizing and lube type rather than it being cast. For years Alliant listed virtually identical loads for cast and jacketed of the same weight.

Go to: Hodgdon - The Gun Powder People and follow the prompts to the loading data. They list HP-38 loads for, specifically, the 158 gr. Laser Cast bullet. The maximum is 5.0 gr, but at a little over 1/2 the pressure of the maximum load for a jacketed bullet of the same weight which is listed at 6.9 gr. This is not a safety issue to use the same load for both types unless a soft cast bullet is being used, and even then usually not!

THE LISTED LOAD IS FOR .357, NOT .38 SPECIAL.

Please start at the suggested starting loads and do a little (a lot!) of loading until you are totally comfortable with the process. DO NOT attempt to use maximum loads until you know what you are doing. I do compliment you for buying two books and thoroughly reading them before starting, very few do that anymore.

Last edited by Alk8944; 03-05-2010 at 04:20 PM.
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Old 03-05-2010, 04:22 PM
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Always consult reliable manuals for proven data.

That said, any lead bullet can be used with jacketed bullet data for the same weight bullet without trouble (as long as the seating depth isn't drastically different between the two), however maximum loads listed for lead bullets will often be a little over the max for jacketed because lead slides through the bore so much easier and creates less pressure, so the charges need to be elevated some to get back to the same pressure level as provided by jacketed.
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Old 03-05-2010, 10:52 PM
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I wanted to do some +p loads and then .357 next. It seems all the reloading charts list jacketed loads with +p and .357. Is it ok to use non-jacketed? Are the grains the same for a given weight jacketed or non?
Its not good to just substitute lead for jacketed. As Gun 4 Fun points out "lead slides through the bore so much easier" and with equal powder charge will have higher velocity than a jacketed bullet of the same weight. In my observations a lead bullet will have an equal velocity to the maximum loaded jacked bullet with the "start" load (or 10% less powder). Velocity is a limiting factor with lead, pushed too fast and you will have serious leading problems in your barrel. Because of the leading issue you will see in most data lead bullet loads have lighter maximum charges than jacketed, esp. in magnum cartridges running over 1,000 fps.

When using jacketed data for lead bullets of equal weight I'd suggest you reduce the maximum jacketed load by 20% for a start level load and consider the start level jacked data (10% reduction) as maximum. Work up your load looking for leading. If its leading at the forcing cone end you have a sizing problem or too light a load with a hard bullet. If its leading at the muzzle end or its leading the whole bore then you are pushing the bullet too fast and need to back down on your charge.

If you are looking for data using HP38 in the .357 mag with lead bullets you can find it at the Cartridge Loads - Hodgdon Reloading Data Center - data.hodgdon.com These loads are lighter cowboy level and all under 1,000 fps.

The Speer manual has + loads for 158gr lead bullets in the .38 spl.

Last edited by Steve C; 03-05-2010 at 10:57 PM.
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Old 03-16-2010, 05:17 PM
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+p loads are usually high velocity loads, thats why the manuals only list jacketed bullets for +p loads. Do not use lead for high pressure-high velocity loads.
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Old 03-16-2010, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Titegroups View Post
+p loads are usually high velocity loads, thats why the manuals only list jacketed bullets for +p loads. Do not use lead for high pressure-high velocity loads.


You know, I wonder where some folks get their information. Elmer's loads for the 44Spl clocked out over 1200fps and they were all lead, and lead that is much softer than what we use today!

Being a caster, and an avid shooter, I can unequivocally say, HUMBUG to your statement, Titegroups!

There are many factors that play a part in getting a lead bullet to shoot as well or better than a jacketed one but it is achievable.

I have several rifle rounds that propel LSWC bullets @ 1800fps or faster. Is that high velocity? Oh, not like a high powered rifle, but we are on a handgun forum. My 45Colt loads are hitting right at 1750fps from a 20" barrel while my 44Mag ones are upwards of 1900fps. Plain based or bevel, no gas checks and no leading.

I have a 38spl 160gr LSWC load that gives me 1100fps from a 3" barrel, with no leading. I have a 357Mag 160gr load that gives me 1300fps from a 6" barrel with no leading. My 44Mag and 45Colt loads give about that from a 5" and 5 1/2" barrels, again with no leading.

It takes time and a commitment to achieve these kinds of results, I will give you that. You can't just buy willy nilly off of the shelf and get them, now to that I agree. Most commercial casters aren't in it to make you shoot the best or fit your gun or ........ they are in it to sell bullets.

That being said, there are a few that do it right. One is a forum member NKJ_nut (Jessie) of Tennessee Valley Bullets. He will give you bullets to order as far as size and hardness(there are limits). His goal is to give you the best match between his products and your firearms. Something a home caster would do, make things work.

Are there limits on lead bullets? Sure. That's why they make gas checks.
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Old 03-20-2010, 05:37 PM
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I must totally agree with the above post. Not much more to add either. I shoot lead bullets in full power .357 Magnum ammo with minimal to no leading. (my reloads of course)
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Old 03-20-2010, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Titegroups View Post
+p loads are usually high velocity loads, thats why the manuals only list jacketed bullets for +p loads. Do not use lead for high pressure-high velocity loads.
Spoken like a true non-reloader or very inexperienced one.

Just like smithcrazy said, paraphrased, this is absolute bunk. Where did you read this?
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Old 03-20-2010, 06:58 PM
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Cast bullets are ok for high velocity loads. I shoot cast bullets at over 2200 fps with no problems, and the accuracy is excellent.
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Old 03-21-2010, 03:45 AM
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Just to help out the newer reloaders reading this thread, it's all about using a bullet with the correct alloy for the higher velocities and pressures. Something else too, you can get just as much or more leading from using too hard a bullet in a low pressure round as you do using too soft a bullet in a high pressure round. Use the correct bullet and you will be fine.
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